Industry overview

Key industry-related market statistics:

  • The UK vitamins and supplements market enjoyed growth in 2015, with value sales rising 2.2% to £414 million
  • Usage of vitamins and supplements increased in 2015-16, with 65% of all adults having taken some form of vitamin or supplement either daily or on an occasional basis in the 12 months ending June 2016, vs 63% in the previous year
  • The market has also benefited from an increase in the number of daily users, with the proportion of people taking supplements every day up 5 percentage points from 2015-16
  • Whilst men are less likely to use vitamins or supplements than their female counterparts, the proportion of men taking them on a daily basis increased significantly from 2015-16, illustrating men’s increased engagement with their own health and personal care
  • Demographic-specific supplements proved a key contributor to total category value sales in 2015, with strong growth in value sales of products targeted at men (+29%), women (+3%), children (+9) and the over-50s (+6%) in the year to May 2016
  • The overall category is predicted to see a steady rise in value sales in the long term, driven in part by the ageing population, as well as increased engagement with male audiences
  • The best- and worst-case forecasts take the value of the vitamins and supplements market from an expected £421 million in 2016 to £475 million (best case) and £439 million (worst case) in 2021. Based on predictions of the population of adults, however, Mintel estimates the market to achieve a total of £457 million in value sales in 2021

Source: Mintel – ‘Vitamins and Supplements’ report, UK, Sept 2016

HFMA Health of the Nation survey

The HFMA commissioned its bi-annual Health of the Nation Survey in early 2016. This research was conducted by One Poll on behalf of the HFMA, comprising 10,000 adults in the UK during 28th January and 8th February 2016. The survey covered a comprehensive gender, geographical and adult age representation.

The key findings from the survey were:

  • Over 1 in 10 (10.47%) of the population would rate themselves as unhealthy, however the majority of people (55.33%) consider themselves to be ‘quite healthy’. People’s perception of their own health gets lower as they get older
  • Over half of respondents (54.19%) say they don’t get all the vitamins and minerals they need through their daily diet
  • Almost 2 in 5 (39.43%) people consider those from the South of the UK to be healthier than those from the North, whereas only 6% (6.17%) see the North as healthier
  • 45% (45.32%) of those that take supplements, take them five times or more per week
  • Multivitamins are the most commonly taken supplement, with almost 50% (46.28%) of supplement-takers taking them regularly
  • Fish oil and vitamin C are next, with 30% (29.61%) and 27% (27.45%) of people taking them regularly
  • 67% (67.38%) of people take supplements for general health and wellbeing compared to just 17% (17.18%) that take them for a vitamin deficiency
  • Over one quarter (26.66%) of people are unaware as to whether they get the right amount of vitamins and minerals through their diet
  • 77% (76.7%) of people are aware of the need for pregnant women to take a supplement containing folic acid each day
  • Yet only half (50.12%) of those who felt they were likely to become pregnant said they would take a folic acid supplement

A full summary of the findings can be seen here

Comparative consumer spending

On occasion the UK media calls into question the amount spent by UK consumers on food supplements annually (c. £400m), questioning the value gained. When doing this it is perhaps worth considering the following:

Compared to what they spend on food supplements, British consumers spend*:

  • 25 times that on tobacco
  • 15 times on chocolate
  • 7.5 times on their caffeine habit
  • 2.5 times on pies
  • Twice as much on Valentine’s Day
  • The same on gin

More specifically, compared to the annual spend on multivitamins:

  • More than 3 times is spent on gin
  • More than 6 times is spent on Valentine’s Day
  • More than 25 times is spent on pies

And, the annual spend by women on folic acid supplements*, is exceeded by:

  • More than 20 times on gin
  • More than 40 times on Valentine’s Day
  • More than 50 times on pies

(*HFMA estimates)

Sales of food supplements may reach £500m by 2022

30m adults now take food supplements every week, 45% of these on a daily basis

The natural health industry supports over 20,000 UK jobs